It’s easy to think of photographs as records of what happened. Abelardo Morell’s photographs are so much more capacious than that. They trace the labyrinths of perception, imagination, and repositories of knowledge. Like his best-known camera obscura photographs, they bring the outside world in, and project it against the architecture of our inner lives. They feel that intimate, that big, that full of wonder.
The lush, delectable book “The Universe Next Door” accompanies a new Morell retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago. A thoughtful essay by exhibition curator Elizabeth Siegel and an interview with Morell conducted by Paul Martineau, associate curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum, where the show will travel, spell out the trajectory of the artist’s career.